The Threat of Völkisch

The conflict between religion and homosexuality has been a long drawn out battle, and it is still a highly debated topic in modern society. This clash was highlighted in the article “Why Russia is so Anti-Gay”, The article discusses why Russians are still so opposed to homosexuality, despite the fact that the majority of Russians do not identify as being religious. This is noteworthy because commonly anti- homosexual attitudes align with religious doctrine. There are many interesting political and religious concepts that can be discussed within the article but the one that was most predominate, in my opinion, was Russia’s clear attachment to völkisch practices. It is rather evident from the recent actions of Putin and the Russian Armed Forces that there is a strong commitment to protect the Russian people, and lately it has also become clear the dangers of this commitment. Therefore, I think that countries promoting völkisch attitudes can pose a threat to liberal ideals and even basic human rights. This was undoubtedly displayed under Hitler’s rule in German, and is again being played out in modern day Russia.

Völkisch refers to the notion of a completely unified community; it is more than just having national pride but rather is related to maintaining a deeper connection through the spirit and blood of the people within a nation. There are two relevant völkisch characteristics which I believe have had negative implications in Russia. These characteristics are: völkisch nations often have laws based on what they consider to be “good for the community” and these nations often maintain a fusion of politics and religion. The recently enacted legislation against the promotion of homosexuality in Russia is a key example of these characteristics. Firstly, they were enacted to “help Russian society”. As depicted in the aforementioned article the political elites of Russia have been promoting the ideology that homosexuality is both detrimental and wrong since the 1800s and have been linking homosexuality to sodomy and pedophilia. As a result, Russians feel morally against homosexuality as it is portrayed as harmful to society as a whole, and consequently, they feel it is within their best interest to ban homosexuality.

Secondly, the link between politics and religion has also increased the amount of prejudice against homosexuals. Despite the fact that the majority of Russians are not religious, the Orthodox Church still has a massive impact on politics. Subsequently, the values and beliefs promoted by the state, and in turn adopted by society, reflect religious ideologies

Based on these two characteristics it seems that contemporary völkisch ideologies are more harmful then helpful. The modern Russian culture reflects century old ideologies simply because it is in the “spirit” of their nation. I take trouble with this stance because there are many countries that have a highly Christian dominated history, such as the US and Canada, yet they have been able to become more accepting of diversity and have started changing legislation to be more inclusive of all sexual orientations. To me, it is not acceptable for an entire nation to hold discriminatory views simply because it reflects their nation’s historical beliefs and based on the understanding that they are in some way “protecting their people”. Most countries are capable of protecting their people without violating basic human rights.

#BN #394#understandinworldreligons


One thought on “The Threat of Völkisch

  1. This blog was very insightful for me. I never looked into why Russia was anti-gay, I just assumed it was because they had an Orthodox Christian church population which doesn’t support homosexuality. It’s incredibly interesting the majority of the population doesn’t identify with any specific religion.

    As this is such a hot issue, especially after the Sochi Olympics, I would have liked to have heard more from you about the second point you made about current political leaders making an impact on the populations opinion. You mentioned the government has been using propaganda for many years, but what did the “recently enacted legislation” actually do to suppress gay rights?

    I also really enjoyed that this tied directly to the terms we learned about in class. We talked about völkisch nations when we talked about Germany and their ‘Nazi words’. This use of the term really brought it to life and made it easy to understand.

    I hesitate to say this, but I would have liked to have seen a lot of fact checking on this news article. I simply don’t trust a news source that advertises other articles in the middle of its paragraphs. If you had provided links to other sources which had some of the facts the original article offered, I would have been a lot more trusting.

    All else aside, this blog was well written and I enjoyed reading it. Thank you for offering a great look into Russia and its völkisch ties.


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